Inks, papers, calligraphic styles

НазваниеInks, papers, calligraphic styles
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outlined *all* the common ones). A current volume that is in print

is by Bischoff, Cambridge press (took 2 months to get, but was only

$25), titled Latin Paleography.

Good searchings unto you.

Thomas Brownwell, calligrapher, herald, dancer,...

dmb at

From: salley at (David Salley)


Subject: Re: Tips Wanted

Date: 19 Nov 93 13:29:09 GMT

Organization: Canisius College, Buffalo NY. 14208

Caitrin Gordon, Barony of Delftwood, Principality of Aethelmearc

aka (Barbara C. French) writes:

> 2. Arts

> Calligraphy and illumination:

> For repeating borders, such as knotwork, you can save time and increase

> precision by drawing one section of the border and using a light table

> or a window to trace subsequent sections of the border (this isn't

> cheating -- you drew it once!).

Rhydderich Hael Calligraphers' Guild version:

Draw your knot, Celtic beast, whathaveyou, once. Cover with tracing

paper and trace. Place the tracing paper onto a scrap piece of plain white

paper WITH THE PENCIL DRAWN SIDE DOWN. Go over the outline of the mirror

image figure with a pencil. Place the tracing paper back on the scroll

original side up. Position your tracing where you want it. Go over the

outline again with a pencil. The pressure of the pencil on top will push

enough graphite from the bottom of the tracing paper onto the scroll to

form a light pencil drawing of the original figure. You don't need an

expensive light table, you don't need to draw vertically against a window,

and best of all, by turning the tracing back over, you can get mirror images

as well as exact copies. Have fun!

- Dagonell

SCA Persona : Lord Dagonell Collingwood of Emerald Lake, CSC, CK, CTr

Habitat : East Kingdom, AEthelmearc Principality, Rhydderich Hael Barony

Internet : salley at

USnail-net : David P. Salley, 136 Shepard Street, Buffalo, New York 14212-2029


From: bcfrench at (Barbara C. French)

Subject: Re: Illumination

Organization: Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Date: Sat, 4 Dec 93 19:59:40 EST

WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU (Peter Rose) writes:

>I'm playing at doing some illumunation, using a metal quill-type pen,

>and using regular artists oil paint thinned with turpentine as pigment,

>and I'm having trouble getting consistant coverage. Sometimes I get

>Thin runny color, and sometimes I get dark sludge, that won't feed

>off the pen. Am I using completely the wrong materials, or am I just

>not mixing the turpentine in aggressively enough. *SHOULD* this work?

Switch to tube watercolors or goache. Oil paints are a poor choice for

working on paper. Oils are meant for canvas, not paper. Plus, you will get

"haloing" around oil pigments.

Watercolors and goache are more "period". The real scribes used various

types of temperas.

I'm not sure what you're saying . . . Are you using the pens to do the

illumination? Most scribes paint the illumination using brushes, and do

the calligraphy with pens. There are good water-based inks to use in quill

pens (personally, I use a Rotring fountain pen . . . I prefer a fountain

pen because there are fewer factors I need to control).

Likewise, oil-based inks are not a good choice for paper because the ink

will halo. This means that you will get a shiny, rainbow-colored oil slick

around your work, kind of like what happens when you spill ink on a puddle

of water.

What I have used for the past seven years for calligraphy and illumination:

Rotring fountain pen, size 1.9, with Rotring ink cartridges

Tube watercolors and gouache, usually Grumbacher and Windsor-Newton

Fine black disposable graphics pens for outlining

You will probably found a great deal more success with more appropriate



Caitrin Gordon, Delftwood, Aethelmearc


From: kharding at lamar.ColoState.EDU (Karol Harding)

Subject: Re: Illumination

Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1993 17:23:31 GMT

Organization: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523


Actually, what we usually do (which Pendragon recommends) is to

put a bit of gum arabic with watercolors and put it on your dip

pen. works great. Mix to the consistency of thin cream, thick

enough to work and thin enough to flow.

The other advantage is that this technique enables you to have

red colors that are reasonably colorfast, and don't "feather"

like a lot of red inks.

We have begun teaching new scribes and are forbidding them to

use cartridge pens for this reason; the flexibility of what you

can use for "ink" as well as the joy of pressure point calligraphy.


From: bcfrench at (Barbara C. French)

Subject: Re: Illumination

Organization: Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 93 10:08:14 EST

In article kharding at lamar.ColoState.EDU (Karol Harding) writes:


>The other advantage is that this technique enables you to have

>red colors that are reasonably colorfast, and don't "feather"

>like a lot of red inks.

It depends on the ink, but I agree: many red inks either feather or look

kind of pinky. I don't use red ink much (I just paint the reds I need).

One of the problems with red paint is that it can get pretty streaky. If

you mix just a touch of white paint in it (just enough to cover the tip of

a small brush) you can almost completely eliminate streaking. You don't

have to use enough white to change the color.

>We have begun teaching new scribes and are forbidding them to

>use cartridge pens for this reason; the flexibility of what you

>can use for "ink" as well as the joy of pressure point calligraphy.

Here's where I disagree. I have used a cartridge pen for years for

calligraphy. I strongly believe there is more than one way to do

illumination, and scribes ought to be given the flexibility to discover

what works best for them. Personally, I cannot use dip pens; I am a scribe

with arthritic hands (arthritic thumb -- a curse for someone who's only

26!) and get horrid cramps from the position of holding a pen. I do not

have so much problem with a brush. The cartridge pen allows me to work

faster, get more calligraphy done and eliminates a lot of problems (such

as ink vomiting all over your page). I use a very high-quality cartridge

pen, a Rotring Art Pen (used by a large portion of scribes I know,

including several Laurels).

I think it's good to expose new scribes to a way you think is good, but as

to "forbidding" them to use a different style of working -- I am not sure

what I think of that. I also think it's good to show scribes different

ways of working. What works best for you is not necessarily what works

best for everyone.


Caitrin Gordon, Delftwood, Aethelmearc

From: jab2 at (Jennifer Ann Bray)


Subject: Period Black Ink/Dye

Date: 8 Mar 94 15:43:41

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.

Mistress Gwennis passed me a recipe for black ink which I tried out

last weekend at a craft session. It worked so well I thought someone

else out there might like to try it. She got the recipe from a Dover

translation of a medieval text by Cenini (sp?)

We took a cup of oak galls and a cup of water, then added a teaspoon

of iron salts (ferrous sulphate). To make writing ink add a few

spoonfulls of gum arabic (I'm told that arrowroot would work aswell,

but we didn't try that).

The ink looks light grey when it goes on, but as it oxidises it slowly

turns to black. It's quite fun watching the ink develop before your

eyes, it's quite different from modern inks which just sit there

staying the same colour.

If you leave out the gum arabic/arrowroot you have a dye. Heat silk in

it and you get a dense bluish black. On wool it gives a very very dark

brown colour, it looks black beside a black T shirt, but had a

definite brownish tinge when held next to ythe dyed silk.

The oak galls are a concentrated source of tannin. If you can't get

oak galls we produced a similar effect by boiling three teabags in a

cup of water for about quarter of an hour. It wasn't quite as good an

ink as the stuff from the oak galls, but it improved overnight and

gave a reasonable black. The oak gall ink also improved overnight even

though we had strained out the oak galls by passing it through a

coarse cloth. I suppose there was still fine sediment in the pot that

was causing the tannin concentration to go up? After leaving overnight

the ink went onto paper as a dark grey colour, and turned as black as

india ink within minutes.

I would like to try the same again with a different source of Iron

since a bottle of Iron sulphate crytals doesn't look very period.

Iron filings or rust might work as a source of Iron to blacken the

ink, as vegetable tanned leather turns black when exposed to iron

rivets and fittings. I suspect the iron is reacting with the tannin in

the leather to produce the same black compound.

The oak gall ink dyes wood black, so I'm planning on using it to

paint in the details on my Viking tent, as the original from the

Gokstad ship had painted details on it.

We used quill pens to write with the ink, and sometimes found the ink

went on a little grey as it ran out. This meant that we had to dip

slightly more often than when using india ink, but it was worth it for

the fun of watching the letters change colour as we wrote.


Vanaheim Vikings

From: katieroz at (KatieRoz)


Subject: German scroll

Date: 24 Jun 1994 13:12:05 -0400

In response to a previous message on producing a late period German

scroll......In my personal collection, I have a manual on 15th

century German illumination. This book details various pigments,

designs and executions. The title is "The Gottingen Model Book- a

facsimile edition and translation of a 15th century Illuminators'

manual". The ISBN number is 0-8262-0261-6 and the Library of

Congress card catalog number is 78-62289. This is the latest period

book that I could find and if you have any problem getting a copy,

please let me know and we can try and work something out. It is a

very informative book and well worth having.

From: gray at (Lyle Gray)


Subject: Re: Guache and fixative?

Date: 30 Aug 1994 14:47:22 GMT

Organization: Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Mass., Amherst, MA

SandraDodd (sandradodd at wrote:

: To all illuminators from Mistress AElflaed of Duckford (a musician)

: I'm posting this for my apprentice, Dwynwen. Any suggestions would be

: welcome! If you could post them here for the benefit of the general

: readership, or e-mail to TLBougher at I would be grateful.

: >In the Middle Kingdom Scribes' Handbook and in the Complete Anachronist

: >book on C&I, a recommended paint to use is gouache. My question is, is

: >there something to be done to the work after it's done? Since gouache

: >becomes very reworkable when it gets wet, what kind of preventative

: >measure can be taken to assure that sweaty palms, mist or rain do not

: >spoil a scroll? Most of the things I've read say to stay away from the

: >waterproof inks and paints.

My lady and I use a spray fixitive with the brand name Krylon on scrolls where

we have used gouache (which is all of them...). This will help reduce

smudging from sweaty palms. However, I don't recommend that the scroll be

exposed to rain, regardless -- we provide scroll folders whenever we can.

Lyle FitzWilliam

------------------------------------------------------ NON ANIMAM CONTINE

Lyle H. Gray Internet (personal): gray at

Quodata Corporation Phone: (203) 728-6777, FAX: (203) 247-0249

From: Elaine_Crittenden at (Elaine Crittenden)


Subject: Re: Leather & Ink?

Date: 13 Mar 1997 23:41:19 GMT

Organization: Digital Xpressway - Dallas, TX

Given your short time span and your experience to calligraph the poem for your

deadline, I would go with paper, too. Deer hides are too thick for good

caliber late period pieces, anyway, and the thinner vellums need stretching

to avoid buckling. The thinnest is "uterine vellum," made from the skin of

unborn calves. In buying vellum offcuts, you can wind up with some really

thick pieces for practice or "parchment size" (glue) manufacture. you will

also have to specify what kind of "finish" you want and state the purpose,

since you wouldn't want to buy a bookbinder's thickness for a scribe's needs.

I have some sheets of paper(used for printing press work) dating from the

mid-fifteen hundreds in England. It is not very slick, nor very white. It is

fairly thin, but is opaque. Most of what I have is not laid paper, but more

of a "wove" type. The doodling in the margins is done in a watery,

transparent brownish ink--done sometime between 1569 and the present--your

guess is as good as mine.

Quills (from the 1st five feathers--the primaries) on a wingtip(right wings

for "leftie" scribes and vice versa) are a bitch to "dutch" if they have not

naturally aged. I would suggest you read the Donald Jackson chapter in The

Calligrapher's Handbook. It is excellent and precise, although I was taught

by George Yanagita.
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